exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
Editor's 1-Minute Essay:
|to be known as one knows oneself
return to "Friendship" main-page
"On this side, when I met my beloved ... I became herself - she was (so to speak) transformed into me. All that she knew and felt became the content of my consciousness. All that I had attempted and achieved, all that I had failed to accomplish, yet battled and struggled to complete, was known to her as no words, no thoughts even, as earth uses the terms, could have conveyed. We were one, yet individually our own very separate selves, knowing as we were known, to the full extent of each other's capacity. Capacity is the only limitation in the spiritual realms." Archdeacon Wilberforce, Letters from the Other Side
Compare to the following, from Excursions to the Spirit World by Frederick C. Sculthorp: “So I concentrated my thoughts on her and simply said: ‘Come!’ After a short pause my wife suddenly appeared in the lane walking towards me. I felt very happy at the success of my telepathic call… as she came closer, I noticed that her features were exactly as they had been on earth. Then, as our auras met, there was a transformation. [Her features] were perfection. She was my same companion, but different; yet I knew her better than I had ever done before. I would have recognized her unfailingly, even with my eyes closed, because her whole life and personality were contained within her aura and I could sense the years of her companionship with me. I was also aware that she knew me better than she ever did before. There seemed to be a wonderful harmony between us, for we both uttered the same words of greeting and blessing at the same instant. After that we did not trouble to speak with our lips -- speech was too slow… we were able to exchange thoughts with unbelievable rapidity.”
500 channels and nothing on
Nothing on, nothing good, nothing worth it. Similarly, as we "open a channel" to perceive what's going on "down below," we might notice a generalized floating unsavoriness infecting much of our lives.
You can be in a crowd of “500” people and still feel alone. You can try to fill your life with “500” activities, win "500" awards," be a hero to "500" people and still feel empty on the deep inside.
You can attend a large reunion, warmly interacting with relatives, people you love and who love you, but, even amidst this familial pleasantness, you might still be sorrowing behind the convivial smile; in fact, at such gatherings, more than usual.
Here is a dramatic example of hidden sorrow and the winsome social mask, "held up with two hands."
Søren Kierkegaard is one of my favorite thinkers and teachers, but his secret griefs were almost too much for him:
I have just now come from a party where I was its life and soul; witticisms streamed from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me, but I went away — yes, the dash should be as long as the radius of the earth's orbit ————— and wanted to shoot myself.
the most important item I would share with you concerning the subject of friendship
Literature, movies, and songs often attempt to define and illustrate friendship, this most basic impulse of the human spirit. An incredibly vast subject, friendship cannot be addressed here with any degree of fullness; however, there is one point which may require our special attention.
We are social creatures, made to live in community, in oneness, with others. We desire to escape the prison of our own aloneness. We crave, if it were possible, for one person to know us as we know ourselves.
Is this asking too much? In this world, it seems to be. No one here has this. And yet our deepest selves, our innermost yearnings, insist on, and cannot be comforted without, this zenith-level affinity of mind meeting mind. Is this a problem without a solution?
There is a lofty, high-altitude, form of friendship as integral part of eternal life. New Testament Greek scholar Dr. William Barclay informs us that the word “eternal” does not primarily mean “endless duration of time.” It includes this, but, without something more, immortality alone would not bring happiness to us. “Eternal” from the original Greek offers the sense, “living as the gods.” It means that those on the higher levels of existence, in Summerland and beyond, do in fact enjoy this kind of rarefied friendship.
Perfected friendship awaits us, is stored up for us like an inheritance, as the poet Rilke instructs, and will yet satisfy and complete our spirits. The attendant sense of oneness, of truly being known, of mind touching mind, will be, by far, the most delicious experience for us in our eternal lives.
I became her, and she became me
Notice the masthead quotation by Wilberforce. When he crossed over and was reunited with the woman he loved, they experienced a kind of mind-meld, a degree of intimacy and bondedness, unknown to us in our materialistic world. This unitive state did not destroy their individuality; such is always preserved. But now, each voluntarily surrenders, each to the other, the underpinnings of consciousness, and a kaleidoscopic, breathtaking world of secret-garden affinity opens to them! - as Frank Sinatra used to sing, "you think you've flown before, but baby, you ain't never left the ground."
500 channels and nothing on, even for your wedding day
The soliloquies of John and Mary reveal their apprehensions, even on their big day. They desperately negotiate to be happy, they seek for liberation from their aloneness. And yet, even as the cameras flash, even as they flash those biggest smiles of their whole lives, they sense, down below, something is not right.
“The Wedding Song,” channeled lyrics from Spirit Guides, proclaims that the very essence of authentic romance is not a union of bodies -- although, that's part of the package -- but a “union of spirits,” a meeting of the minds. Only this kind of hot-plasma, real-thing fellowship will satisfy the soul, allowing it to escape the prison of its aloneness.
where is the voice to answer mine back
“A hand for each hand was the plan for the world, why don’t my fingers reach? Millions of grains of sand in the world, why such a lonely beach? Where is the voice to answer mine back? Where are two shoes that click to my clack? I’m all alone in the world!” Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol, 1962
one person who understands
We might glance up at the starry night, the Milky Way ablaze; or we might step into a winter wonderland of freshly fallen snow; or maybe experience that April morning with the first sweet scent of spring. In those times, and also in ordinary times, we might say to ourselves, especially if we are missing someone, “Oh, how I wish I could save this moment and communicate it! How I wish I could convey to my lost friend what I am feeling right now! Oh, how I wish I could share it!”
The sense of transmitting one’s deepest thoughts and desires overwhelms with, is subsumed by a spiritual hunger, a longing to be known even as one knows oneself. In the future, doubtless, we will share happiness with many, especially with a small group of dear ones. These are they -- one's soul-group -- with whom we will trek through eternity.
However, among this privy council of intimates, there will be one -- one only -- who will know you to the utmost, will know you as you know yourself: you will become her, and she will become you.
In this marvel of utimate-reality interconnectedness, we finally discover our "reason to stay alive for."
if you have one true friend, you may have more than your fair share
A quotation from Thomas Fuller (see it on the “Friendship” main-page). Essentially, Fuller is saying that virtually no one here on "the sorrowful planet" has a true friend.
Is his assessment too harsh? It may not be harsh enough.
no friends, only accomplices
The dysfunctional ego is constitutionally unable to have friends. It derives its energy and essence by crafting reality in terms of “me versus all.” It’s part of the individuation process. We talked about this in the “purpose of evil” article.
The "false self," if subjected to enough pressure, if sufficiently provoked, is potentially capable of any atrocity of history. This includes betrayal of others.
the seeds of evil
Star Trek: Next Generation, episode "Violations"
|"No one can deny that the seeds of violence remain within each of us. We must recognize that - because that violence is capable of consuming each of us."
See Viktor Frankl's testimony about the camps. The "long dark night of the soul" will reveal these depths of malfeasance.
In the meantime, the ego has no friends, only accomplices: it will forge temporary strategic alliances in order to get what it wants; and every needy little ego wants something. This includes John and Mary.
And it tends to get worse before it can get better. Consider this from Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao:
If you spend a long period of time in study and self-cultivation, you will enter ... a world of extraordinary perceptions. You experience unimaginable things, receive thoughts and learning as if from nowhere, perceive things that could be classified as prescient. Yet if you try to communicate what you experience, there is no one to understand you, no one who will believe you. The more you walk this road, the farther you are from the ordinary ways of society... To speak to them of the wonders you have seen is often to engage in a futile bout of miscommunication. That is why it is said that those who know do not speak.
As you develop yourself more and more, not only will you not have a true friend – which is the norm in this world – but you will vastly lower the odds of the possibility. No one will be able to make sense of you; worse, almost no one will want to.
This planet is a terrible and severe classroom, good for only one thing: the individuation process, the crafting of personhood. In this “strait is the gate” environment, in order to reach a higher level perspective, we might be called upon to stand alone, even, if need be, against all the world. Abraham Lincoln well understood this challenge. Listen to him here, my favorite quotation among many thousands on the Word Gems site:
I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if, at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me.
Why do family members, old friends, and romantic mates drift apart or even abruptly split?
When my daughter was in high school, she had a girlfriend; the two seemed inseparable. Later, the friend chose an alternate lifestyle, assumed that she’d be judged, then abruptly, and permanently, broke off friendship ties.
An example of my own: In the “Evolution” article I recounted that in senior-high English class I’d delivered a speech on the subject of “Creationism versus Darwinism.” Almost all of it, as I now perceive, was error. However, a good friend since childhood disagreed, summarily rejected me, and put me away with no reconciliation.
the hidden cause of all conflict
Each of us, likely, could offer scores of such examples. Krishnamurti’s teachings on the ego – concerning dualism, fragmentation, separation, division – are not of mere academic interest only to professional philosophers. This information holds the sacred key to understanding why planet Earth is the stage for war and conflict, not just on the international level, nor solely with religious or political groups, but also among family members, friends, and lovers.
Why do people drift apart or become immediate enemies? The short answer is that they become an offense to each other. People identify with, make themselves equal to, belief systems which, they assume, will "make me happy." They say "this is who I am," and "this is what I need to be safe and happy," and if you represent something different, their self-image will be threatened, their prospects of safety and happiness will seem to fold - and then you'll be rejected, no matter the strength of former bonds of amity. You'll be rejected because, don't you see, it's a matter of life-and-death to the ego.
the carefully crafted self-image
In his 17.December.1969 lecture, Jiddu Krishnamurti offers one of the most clear and insightful explanations concerning the inner workings of this dark dynamic. When we feel offended by someone, he said, “there is an image about yourself,” one that we ourselves build. This ego-image reflects one's cultural “conditioning.” Why do we build this image? We do so “as a means of security ... of protection ... of being somebody.”
fear is behind the curtain
And what do we find if we draw back the curtain of this ego-image? “Now, if you go behind that," Krishnamurti says, "you will see there is fear.” What is the composition of this fear? It is the existential fear of "I don't have enough" because "I am not enough."
Let’s analyze this ego-image more closely. Why do we build it? What are we protecting? If we allow ourselves to become very still, if we taste and sample the nature of this hidden fear, we will find that we’re protecting a self-image, a mental projection of what the ego would like to be and have:
“I am the person who needs to be seen as virtuous, respected, worthy of honor. And it goes without saying that I know what’s best for you.”
“I am the person who needs to be seen as right and correct. As such, I need you to believe as I do, to agree with all of my religious superstitions, and my self-serving political views. I need you to accept all of my inflexible opinions because your assent makes me feel, not just safe and secure but, that I’m worth something.”
“I am the person who needs to be seen as successful and winning. I want you to be impressed with what I am and what I have so that I’ll be counted as a somebody. I need these merit badges so that I can face my peer group, family, and community and be considered important."
“I am the person who craves to be viewed as a wise person, an in-demand friend, a counselor with ‘the answers.’ I count on you to offer me this prestige so that I can feel good about myself.”
“I am the person who needs you to make me happy. You can be my friend/lover/relative if you do what I say and think as I think. I need you to love me, to compliment me, to defer to me, so that I can judge myself as ok.”
“I am the person associated with you, and if you disappoint me, if you fall short of my expectations - especially after all I've done for you - if you fail to make me happy, if you begin to take on contrary opinions, then you will become a threat to what I want and to the image I’ve created for myself. If any of this happens, then, of course, I’ll have no choice but to get rid of you, even though we’ve meant much to each other over long years.”
And so if anyone – sibling, friend, lover, child, parent -- becomes a contrary force to any of these ego-images, then the offending person will immediately be counted as an enemy, no matter a long history of cordial relation.
a closer look at the hidden fear
We find there’s more than one curtain to open. The ego’s need to be seen as right, virtuous, properly religious or political, is not the only hidden agenda. As one pierces the levels of self-obfuscation we discover the core terror which vivifies all of the ego’s activities. It’s the fear of death. This is the central terror, as we learn from the great psychologists.
This means that when one is attacked, there may be purported surface issues, but the real reason people rage and become apoplectic is the ego fighting for its life. It's identified with, made itself equal to, being right, virtuous, and all the rest, and if it fails to promote itself with these "images," then it will face a kind of psychological death. “Who will I be?” it asks, if these false-security images are minimized or taken away?
the high cost of following the truth wherever it leads
All this is most dire. The reality is, if you assiduously pursue the truth, no matter the cost or where it might lead, then you will lose (for a time) almost every last person who was once close to you. Why must it be so? - because you will become a living, walking threat to another’s carefully crafted self-image.
narrow gate, without fellowship
Editor's note: In his writings, Andrew Jackson Davis warns of the "narrow gate" that leads to life; few be that enter it. Those who live courageously by following the truth wherever it leads, as Davis points out, “will walk a pathway without fellowship of thy earthly brethren.” The cults have long employed the weapon of excommunication, shunning, and ostracization - a forced separation from friends, workmates, and family - toward anyone who disagrees with the hive mentality. This putting away occurs not just in religion but in dysfunctional families, corporations, academia, politics, and other power-seeking groups. They’re afraid of contrary opinion which might disembowel and expose shallow teachings. And so they’ll get rid of you for spreading "misinformation"; and you, as a truth seeker, will be censored and required to make your way through this world “without fellowship of thy earthly brethren.” But, be assured, a day of reckoning is but one missed heartbeat away.
We, ourselves - not some mythical Satan - are the focal point of all evil in the universe. It’s the pathological ego within; it’s the false self, the ego-images, ever attempting to find safety and security for itself, to bolster an inner neediness, the existential emptiness deep within.
We cannot become truly educated, nor reach a good level of wisdom and maturity, in the highest and best sense - or meaningfully prepare ourselves for Summerland or to be with one’s Twin Soul - without understanding the wiles and machinations of our own personal “heart of darkness.”
please, it’s very impolite of you to notice that I lack a self
Soren Kierkegaard: “But in spite of the fact that man has become fantastic in this fashion [i.e., lives unrealistically by denying his own mortality and impending death, the terror of which is covered up by palliatives such as ritualistic, form-based but empty, religion], he may nevertheless … be perfectly well able to live on, to be a man, as it seems, to occupy himself with temporal things, get married, beget children, win honor and esteem – and perhaps no one notices that, in a deeper sense, he lacks [an authentic] self.”
Editor's last word:
“Friendship” becomes topic-icon #100 on the home-page. I never write unless I feel I have something important to say. And, most times, it feels as if “this is the most important idea I’ve ever tried to convey.” Maybe, this time, it’s true.
By the way, did you notice? I didn’t until I’d finished this writing.
The boy and girl sitting by the lake, ever so slightly, are touching hands; very discreetly, almost imperceptibly, fingers meet. Others in the foreground by the boats wouldn’t be able to tell. Or, in this small disingenuity, as they stare blankly dead ahead, are they encouraging a studied nonchalance - for themselves?
We’re reminded of the disengaged two in “The Remains Of The Day” and their “ludicrous proposition.” The enchanting beauty of a lake at sunset provides excellent venue, and cover, for two young teens intent upon hiding from each other.
We trust that this pair, sitting by "a lonely beach," will eventually work this out. After all, as we learned from the lamenting young boy, "a hand for each hand was the plan for the world" - hands touching hands, minds touching minds.